The perception used to be that NFL head coaches had a better recycling rate than plastic.
Inspired selections of relative unknowns? Why would an NFL owner do that when Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Jimmy Johnson, Marty Schottenheimer, Mike Ditka or Dennis Green were out of work and ready to coach. Dust 'em off, stick a whistle between their lips and push 'em out there.
But in the past few years, the trend has been to hire guys with "clean records," so to speak.
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From C (Childress and Crennel) to Z (Zorn), the "face of the franchise" is a fresh one in an increasing number of NFL cities.
Obviously, every case is different, but there are some consistent dynamics in place. One is that teams who are looking for head coaches usually just finished a poor season. They need a spark, a change of direction. Freshness. Energy.
Experienced coaches now have a double-edged sword with which to deal. It’s nice that they did the job before but they were most likely fired from that last job. And the experienced coach’s failings in that job are all so well chronicled that it’s hard to capture momentum and sell a coach to media, players and fans when conversation about him centers on how he fizzled out with his last team.
Take Jim Fassel, for instance. The former Giants head coach and Ravens offensive coordinator was the clear front-runner for the Redskins job this past offseason until Seahawks quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn blew into town and knocked the socks off Washington owner Dan Snyder and GM Vinny Cerrato.
Zorn is also an example of another trend: Coaches without offensive or defensive coordinator experience in the league. Raiders coach Lane Kiffin, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, the Ravens John Harbaugh and the Lions Rod Marinelli weren't NFL coordinators before they were hired. Eric Mangini of the Jets and the Steelers Mike Tomlin were defensive coordinators for just one season before becoming head coaches.
"They bring energy and ideas," says Colts coach Tony Dungy. "So many of these young guys have been listening and taking things in and formulating ideas on how they’ll do it. They bring new plans to the table in terms of the way you’ll practice or do offseason work. They are bringing things to the table that are exciting."
Romeo Crennel’s way of doing things in Cleveland is different in tenor from the way his former boss Bill Belichick does them in New England. And Sean Payton's manner in New Orleans is different from his old bosses Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin.
The tone is a bit different. During training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona, the Cardinals got a morning off to go to the movies. Cards coach Ken Whisenhunt was asked if he ever had a movie day in training camp when he was an NFL player. "No," he said with a smile.
Kiffin, the Raiders head coach, said the mentality has changed from endless work to efficient work.
"There are guys that keep staying (at the office) thinking, 'I have to be the last one to leave,'" he explains. "Well, when there are three guys trying to be the last guy to leave, nobody ever leaves. Especially if you have a head coach who works like that, you don't want to leave before the head coach. Then that becomes who you are."
PFT: Defensive end finally finds a new team in San Diego — and for a honey of a deal that would be worth a max of $13.35 million.
2013 SNF Schedule
Check out the 2013 Sunday Night Football schedule.
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Chudzinski: 'Too early' to name a QB
Following Thursday's OTA, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski speaks to the media about his team’s brewing quarterback controversy. He feels the competition will aid in each QB’s progression as a passer, but he isn’t ready to name a starter for Week 1.
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